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The Happiness Maverick shares some surprising results on connecting mental health, 360deg. happiness quotient and how companies can play an pertinent role in improving lives at work.

What makes an employee happy at work? According to my research, it's the same things that make people happy in their lives: a sense of belonging, social connections, autonomy, passion and a purpose or meaning

Today employers have a moral obligation in improving their employee's lives in the face of present- day challenges like the pandemic, wfm, uncertainty, technological disruption and mental illness.

What makes people happy with their lives?

We've got to get away from happiness being thought to be a blurred concept, or slightly flippant, or a curiosity, to taking it seriously. This is what people want for their lives. Let us measure it.

Happiness Quotient is a concept which is ripe in today's new normal. Companies need to implement HQ to measure mental health and drive the right optics forward. If you look at what we know about the causes of people to be satisfied with their lives, mental health becomes the most important. The quality of your relationship, whether you have a partner, whether you're getting on, the quality of your work, whether you're getting on with your colleagues, the quality of your community, do you feel safe, do you feel it's friendly-and of course, your physical health. These are the main things that people talk about when they get together with their friends and family i.e circle of influence.

"Sustaining High performance - Happy people." A Harvard Business School case study findings show that when people have the opportunity to find joy in the work that they do and when they also see their contributions and they see that they're doing well, definitely that helps the organizations overall, and it can be quite contagious for others at work. Nowadays, fortunately, we recognize that happiness at work really matters

Does work have to be monotonous?

One of the prominent findings of happiness research is that people on average, don't much like their work. It's a fact that we really need to take very seriously that a lot of work is either boring or extraordinarily exhausting. And unemployment is one of the worst things that can happen to somebody. Obviously, people are getting something important out of their work-a sense of meaning and purpose, social connection, and so on. But what they are doing a lot of the time at work is not very enjoyable, and if we can make it more so, that would be just wonderful and more productive.

A research conducted by Mckinsey during the pandemic finds that when comparing people who say they are "living their purpose" at work with those who say they aren't, the former report levels of well-being that are five times higher than the latter. Moreover, those in the former group are four times more likely to report higher engagement levels.

What can employers do?

People are spending on a global average 80k hours at work and another 20k on work commute. If we can't have a caring society in which people are enjoying their work, there's something very seriously wrong. And the employer has a huge role in setting the context within which people spend their time at work. Here is the most appalling fact that I've come across in happiness research: the time of day or the time in the week that people least enjoy is when they're with their line manager. This says something about the management style that we have been generating in recent years. There is too much rule by the creation of anxiety and fear, and not enough by motivation and enjoyment and inspiration. We need leaders who will inspire, and lead by inspiring, rather than by scaring people.

And we certainly don't want pay systems that set one worker against another. When people are working in a team, I think individual-performance pay is a very bad idea. We should have group- performance pay. And that's been shown in the research to produce more happiness than individual-performance pay. There are a lot of changes that need to be made there.

The University of Warwick, UK, in one of their studies revealed that happy workers are up to 12% more productive than unhappy professionals. They are more likely to be the proud owner of good health, have smooth flowing professional and personal relationships, and prove to be more beneficial for the organization as a whole.

"Out of every goal human beings want to attain, happiness is usually the greatest."

How does work affect mental health?

I would like to highlight the whole serious issue of mental health facing the modern world. Quite a high fraction of the workforce is currently suffering from mental illness-let's say one in six. How many will [suffer from this] sometime over their working life? Probably one in two. This is not a small phenomenon when we talk about the well-being of the population. And employers have a real duty of care.

There's a famous study by Alex Edmans at the London Business School, which takes the 100 best places to work in the US and their evaluation, compared with the rest of the top companies, and tracks it over 25 years. And the top best places to work increase their share value 50 percent relative to the others. The employees are going to respond if the employer is making their life better, because they want to make their life better. And that's the moral thing to do.

What is the new performance appraisal tool?

It is time to move to a holistic approach towards employee evaluation which measures emotional, financial, social, physical and intellectual states of wellbeing rolling into a Happiness Quotient model. This is real time driven by data powered by Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence.


The Secret of Happiness in the new WFH World is learning to Live More with Less...

  ~ Happiness Samurai   

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